click to show more information

click to hide/show information About this Show

Q A

Mark Shields News/Business. (2013) The columnist and political analyst discusses his career.

NETWORK

DURATION
01:00:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 17 (141 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Washington 9, Robert Kennedy 8, United States 6, Harry Truman 6, Massachusetts 6, California 5, Montana 4, Mike Mansfield 4, Boston 4, South Carolina 4, Gerald Ford 3, Ronald Reagan 3, John Mccain 3, Sears 3, China 3, Pacific 3, John Sears 3, John 3, Vietnam 3, George W. Bush 2,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    Q A    Mark Shields  News/Business.  (2013) The  
   columnist and political analyst discusses his career.  

    February 3, 2013
    11:00 - 11:59pm EST  

11:00pm
this is c-span's new original series, first ladies, influence and image. their public and private lives, interests, and their influence on the president. produced with nine: 00 eastern and pacific -- 9:00 eastern and pacific. >> this week on "q&a" -- mark shields discusses his early career in politics and his transition to journalism. >> mark shields -- can you remember the first time you did work in front of an audience? >> no. i really cannot. i recall humor, the importance of it growing up, telling a
11:01pm
story, but i cannot remember that epiphany where i said wow, it really works. >> what role does humor play in your life? >> that is a good question. humor, i think, is great for putting life and its trials and tribulations into perspective. it is a great antidote to self- importance, a great antidote to pomposity. in that sense, i welcome humor, appreciate humor, and occasionally use it. >> can you remember when you first knew an audience would listen to you at all? >> i do. i was working for senator william proxmire, a democratic
11:02pm
senator from wisconsin. as was his custom -- he was a man of incredible discipline -- he committed to the united states ratifying the genocide convention. to that end, he gave a daily speech on the senate floor in support of it. i was tasked, that is a word you do not hear often, at least with me -- my responsibility was to write a daily speech, which i sometimes did under great deadline pressure. much to the consternation of the senator. word got out that i did this, and i was asked to give a speech, to speak on the genocide convention at a luncheon. i did, and the crowd seemed to respond and like it. i said, wow, that was fun. after that i accepted
11:03pm
opportunities wherever it was to speak. within reason. >> what have you learned about audiences over the years, and when they start to respond to you? how many times do you speak a year? >> it depends on the year. quite honestly -- in presidential years, you may be asked a lot more because you are covering the campaign and when there is a change of administration, there are always more invitations to speak. people feel somehow you must know something. nothing is worse for a speaker on politics like a reelected president -- barack obama, bill clinton -- that means continuity rather than change. but as far as speaking itself, i enjoy it.
11:04pm
i enjoy the challenge. you are walking into a room full of strangers. you have never met them, they have never laid eyes on you, they may have seen you on television in passing or whatever -- within an hour, they walk out with some sense of you. 45 minutes to make them think, make them laugh. that is the highest praise you can get, is somebody coming up and saying, you made me think and made me laugh. that is high praise for me as a speaker. >> let's lay down the basics for mark shields -- born where? >> massachusetts, may 25, 1930 seven. >> parents did what? >> my dad was a paper salesman, involved in the town, government and politics.
11:05pm
my mother had been a schoolteacher but at that time when schoolteachers married they could no longer -- they were stained women or something of the sort, because they no longer could teach in the public schools of massachusetts as a married woman. so she was a mother and homemaker. >> how many brothers and sisters? >> one brother who died and one older brother and one older sister. >> still alive? >> my brother and sister are both alive. my brother, sadly, has done very well -- we were born democrats and baptized catholic. he is very well -- he is terrific, and i talked to him yesterday. we occasionally argue about politics, but with great affection and admiration. >> who had the most influence on you as you were growing up? not just your parents?
11:06pm
>> we got five newspapers a day. massachusetts -- it was a middle-class town. a blue-collar town. today it has the highest per capita union membership of any town in the state, which is partly a reflection of changing residential patterns. we were an aberration in that sense -- my folks were intimately involved and engaged and cared about it. my dad was on the school committee and cared deeply about the public schools. we all went to public schools. we got "the new york times." people in our neighborhood did not. we were considered oddballs. the age of 10 or 11, i knew all the united states senators.
11:07pm
the first time i ever saw my mother cry was the night that adlai stevenson lost. it was that kind of family. my family had the most -- my parents in particular -- had the most immediate and profound influence upon me. >> which president was the first to ever saw in person? >> the first president -- harry truman. they rousted me out of bed at 5:00 in the morning. he was driving through on his way to boston. what i learned about it afterward, he was such an underdog that the only massachusetts politician who would appear with him was the lieutenant governor, jeff sullivan. someone of no particular distinction. the others all had important things to do. that is one of the fundamental truths of politics -- i was
11:08pm
involved before i became a journalist, in political campaigns. you can always tell who shows up. you treasure the people who do. working in 1972, with the vice presidential nominee for george mcgovern -- people showing up in south carolina. why we were in south carolina, they will explain someday, but the important thing is the mcgovern campaign -- showing up on the statehouse steps. you say, well, you know you will get your head handed to you, especially in south carolina. when he shows up, jack gilligan, the governor of ohio showed up, the governor of wisconsin -- you treasure those. people come up with very creative excuses why they cannot be with you when they are losing. my nephew is graduating from driving school that day, i would
11:09pm
love to be with you -- we have a family appointment at the taxidermist. we are getting our cat stuffed. all kinds of creative excuses -- people do not want to be seen. the only american sin is losing. people avoid losers. there is harry truman, his great comeback upset victory of 1948. >> which president have you personally known the most, up close and personal? >> i do not know if i have known any of them really that well. i have met them. i have talked to them at different times. but i cannot say -- i admired many in a different ways.
11:10pm
most of the people i was close to did not become president, i hope not because i was working with them at the time. i admired gerald ford, whom i did not know well but then some time with -- spent some time with. i always thought he was the most emotionally healthy of all the people i have known who were president. not that the others were basket cases, but he became president most people become president, and bill clinton was not the exception, sometime around the fourth grade. they get that bug -- the only known cure for the presidential virus is embalming fluid. gerald ford wanted to be speaker
11:11pm
of the house when he was republican leader of the house they were in the minority. along the way he became president. he knew who he was. he was comfortable with who he was. i always wish i had known harry truman, because i felt that he liked being harry truman. he never thought about being anybody else but harry truman. i felt that way about gerald ford. >> 30 years ago -- here you are, appearing on this network on a call in show. let's watch. >> it is baloney on both sides ronald reagan is a phony on defense. ronald reagan never says that in the defense of the country are we going to take an 18-year-old kid out of bethesda, maryland or california and ask him to serve no. we will staff this army, we will fill up with kids from working class american families, poor kids, black kids, white kids, brown kids who cannot get jobs.
11:12pm
that is what our army is. what we need is a demonstration of willpower, not firepower. talking about nerve gas and baloney -- where the hell is the commitment? i do not know if you could get a draft law passed in the congress of the united states now. all these tough republicans, spend more, borrow more. >> spend more borrow more republicans? >> it is bipartisan at this point. i agree -- i may have mellowed a little bit in my delivery, but i will say this. a senator from south carolina, somebody i admire enormously, he ran for president in 1984. at the new hampshire primary, we
11:13pm
went up to dartmouth college. there he stood before these very privileged and in many cases pampered ivy league students and said, i want to draft everybody in this room because i want our military -- it has to be a cross section of this country. the defense of this country is everybody's responsibility. and silence in the room. he spoke candidly. he said things that you wish candidates for president would pandering to audiences and constituencies -- robert kennedy did the same thing when he ran in 1968. went to college campuses and said, i want to draft you. this war is being fought by kids who were not lucky enough to go to this school, this university.
11:14pm
so i do believe that. i think we have a lot more thoughtful and responsible for and policy. we have a lot less swagger. one of the things about gerald ford -- 10 battle stars, silver star, four bronze stars. he had seen it. jim webb was a perfect example the senator from virginia. he said, all these think tank commandos in this town, let's go in and get tough -- you do not send force. you send young men and women who have lives and families and hopes and dreams, and you had better think twice, three times, if we will send them in. so i do feel -- the obligatory line for every politician, democrat, republican, is how
11:15pm
much we admire the people in the military, the great job they do. i just ask, when was the last time a president of the united states went to a funeral for anybody who came back in a pine box? i cannot find one. one of the reasons is, they do not know anybody in the military. the sons of the cabinet officers or the ceo's or network correspondence or columnist -- when we were debating going to war in iraq, my sister and i called all 535 offices on capitol hill. we asked just one question -- does the senator or member of congress have a child in the enlisted ranks of the united states military? three out of four of the
11:16pm
casualties come from the enlisted ranks. all due respect to officers, admirals, generals -- the exception obviously a second lieutenants. out of 535, 1, from south dakota, had a child who was a sergeant. that is totally divorced from peril -- those in power. i grew up in massachusetts. we had two republican united states senators. one of them -- his 19-year-old son left yale to go to the pacific in world war ii and died in combat. henry cabot lodge resigned to become a tank commander in north
11:17pm
africa. the president's four sons served in world war ii. there was something wrong with this -- i think that wild eyed guy you heard 30 years ago was onto something. >> you served in the marine corps for how long? >> two years. to be in the marines rather than the army. >> what years? >> 1960-1962. >> what impacted serving have on you? >> a lot more for me than the marine corps -- i think marine corps values are admirable. incredibly egalitarian, and even though i have been to college, i came from a cloistered
11:18pm
background, but one that was not as wide ranging in its ethnic and racial exposure. the first time i slept in the same quarters with african- americans, i took orders from african-americans, was at the marine corps boot camp. the only reason i did that was because the president of the united states, harry truman, said that in the final analysis it was unacceptable and literally un-american to ask people to fight and die for their country and then be segregated by race. we had six college graduates in our platoon. we had kids who were high school dropouts, kids who were given the option by a judge, you can go there or go to juvenile detention. it was a remarkable experience. everybody was the same, who came
11:19pm
out of it, with a sense of mutual responsibility. they depended on you. >> what was your highest rank? >> lance corporal. >> you never wanted to be an officer? >> i did not. they did approach me at one point about whether i was interested -- i was interested, quite honestly, in fulfilling my responsibility and returning to civilian life. >> we are going to go back to the point in your -- the same show in july of 1983. talking about "the washington post." i want to talk about your experience there. >> the post is a very influential voice in the nation's politics. when you have the most important political city in the country, washington d. c., and the post has been the dominant voice in
11:20pm
that city for a long time, members of congress, federal policymakers, whether they want to or not, that is their principal link with print journalism. sure, you get the "times" or the "wall street journal" or the "l.a. times" -- the people, they meet and talk with by that morning, there is the general presumption everybody has read the post. >> everybody has read the post, do they still say that? >> i do not know. probably not. they may very well have glanced at the website, had and look -- had a look at an aggregator. >> how long did you work for the post? >> from 1979 until 1981. >> why did you leave? >> how i went there is kind of
11:21pm
fascinating. i had written a couple of op-ed pieces. i had not been in journalism. i was in politics. they approached me and said, would you like to write political editorials for "the washington post?" not knowing any better, i said yes. she said, write a once a week column. so i did that through the campaign of 1980, covering the whole campaign, which was great. ronald reagan against jimmy carter. 1981, i had been on my own for essentially since 1968. doing something for a periodical of time, but i am not somebody who is an institutional person or a organizational person. i like that, going in a different direction.
11:22pm
after two years there, very happily, i wanted to strike out on my own. >> you still write how many columns a week? >> one column a week for creators syndicate. >> you spend a lot of time around politicians. i want to see if we can get you to name five of your favorite politicians. >> five people that you remember give us the reason why. i might as well throw it out first, because you have a story to tell about bobby kennedy. you have written a lot about that, still write about it to this day -- what was your relationship? >> i work for him. i worked for senator proxmire, worked labor and civil rights issues for the senator, and i knew senator kennedy, not well, but i went to work for him when
11:23pm
he ran for president in 1968. i was in california for the california primary, which he won, and then was murdered. i felt about robert kennedy -- there are two types we are looking for in american politics. we are looking for a conservative with an obvious heart, who can say, there is a real human quality to him, and we are looking for a liberal who is tough, who has a real backbone. i felt that robert kennedy was the embodiment of that. he was in many respects the last liberal this country has ever had. he is certainly the only candidate in a primary -- gary, indiana, a tough town, in an
11:24pm
open convertible. on the one side of him is the former middleweight champion of the world, a product of gary, and on the other side is the african-american mayor. you can see both community steering. -- both communities cheering. he was -- no other candidate would have brought together white working-class blue-collar americans and african americans, in a way that nobody before or since has ever done. i think it would have made an enormous difference. he was opposed not simply by big business -- chunks of big labor, including the afl-cio, opposed him vehemently. it was interesting. he would have been elected with fewer income rinses in that-- encumbrances in that
11:25pm
sense than i can imagine. >> were you in that hotel? >> i was in san francisco. i was responsible in getting out the vote in northern california i was in the bay area. >> what was it like, hearing that this man had been shot? >> i just remember hearing it -- a rally in san francisco. ted kennedy had been there. everything went out. the air went out of the room. the music stopped. the laughter -- everything. it was just sort of a sense of dread. and disbelief -- you have to understand, it was for 4.5 years since his brother had been killed. it was only two months since martin luther king had been
11:26pm
assassinated. i had been at the baptist church for martin luther king's funeral, which still remains one of the most remarkable of ants -- events i have ever been privileged to attend. a sweltering day in atlanta. >> how did this compare? how does this compare the feeling between this country in 1968 when jack kennedy had been killed, then robert kennedy and martin luther king, compared to today when we are dealing with all these attacks, like the kids killed in newtown? the way the country fell?-- fel t? >> these were national experiences. newtown is a slaughter of the innocents. the more we hear about it, the heroism and selflessness of the teachers involved -- that is a
11:27pm
separate experience which we are still processing. but as far as -- america in 1968 had a nervous breakdown. they had the antiwar thing, which again was draft-inspired. a polished the draft, which was done with liberal support. >> what year? >> 1973. it was going down because it had gotten to the lottery system. i say that because the war in vietnam became a moral issue when, as that young punk on your show pointed out, the draft notices started getting out of ft. wayne and into shaker
11:28pm
heights and bethesda, maryland, and grosse pointe, michigan. when the nicer neighborhoods were getting draft notices, as long as they had their college deferments and could avoid military service it was just an on thousand interlude. then it became a real thing. college presidents have their offices taken over at at least four dozen campuses. martin luther king was assassinated and american cities went up in flames. robert kennedy was assassinated. the chicago convention that year. it was just trauma upon the trauma. nobody was in control. >> what did it do to you personally that robert kennedy was killed? >> i can remember -- my wife,
11:29pm
who had been in the campaign with me and had flown in the day of the convention. >> were you married then? >> yes. still married, and happily. >> a lawyer? >> she is a reformed lawyer -- a retired lawyer, but that is right. we just went away, basically. we went to cape cod and went to a place with no phone. at that time, i was still drinking. i have not had a drink since may 15, 1974. it took me that long to find out that god made whiskeys of the irish and indians would not run the world. >> were you an alcoholic? and you have been dry since 1974? >> and may 15, 1974. if i was not an alcoholic, i was probably a pretty good imitation. >> what made you quit? >> i stopped at different times.
11:30pm
i had a very good friend who we used to drink together. we drank too much. we were not drinking out of paper bags -- not the people who drink out of paper bags are bad i do not want to give the wrong impression. when you drink a lot -- i saw a sign once on the wall. john stopped drinking, joined aa in late 1975, and our friendship maintained. whether it was the archangel or the holy ghost or whatever it was, i said, that makes sense. i will try.
11:31pm
may 15, 1970 -- 1978, 3 days after my daughter's birthday, i was lucky enough to enter the wonderful program, which i have great admiration and respect for. he got away -- i got a telegram down there from a man running for the united states senate in ohio. he asked me if i would come to ohio and talk about running a senate campaign that year. he was in the middle of it. i guess -- i just wanted to get away more than anything else. >> we talked about robert kennedy. would you put him at the top of your list? >> my list, i would have to have tip o'neill, mike mansfield -- who is probably as unknown and
11:32pm
remarkable a man in washington. >> senator from montana. >> a quick story -- a quick story about mansfield. mike mansfield, his parents were irish immigrants. his mother died when he was an infant, a toddler. his father could not raise the two of them, so he put them on a train, he and his sister, up to montana where a bachelor uncle said he would take responsibility. he was brought up in the austere conditions -- a rebellious kid. he found himself in a juvenile home or reform school. he runs away from it. with forged baptismal certificate, he enlists in the united states navy at the age of 14. he makes three crossings of the
11:33pm
atlantic. they find out it is a forged certificate, he is thrown out, and he joins the united states army. he wants to see asia. it is not the first time the military service lies to an enlistee -- he does not go. he goes across the street to the marine corps, says, will you send me to china? the sergeant says, we will send you to china. after china, he goes and serves he comes back at the age of 20. he has served honorably in all branches of the united states military. there is no air force at the time. comes back and falls in love with a woman in his hometown in montana who says, i will have nothing to do with you until you finish school. he finishes high school and goes on to be a professor of asian history at the university of montana and is elected to the
11:34pm
congress of the united states. united states ambassador to japan under president carter and president reagan. when he dies, written on his tombstone at arlington tom at his request, is michael joseph mansfield, born march 16, 1903, died october 5, 2001 -- private, united states marine corps. no leader, no majority leader, ambassador to japan. a remarkable man. i was working on the voting rights act in capitol hill, which was a real fight. civil rights public accommodations -- people go to hotels and restaurants.
11:35pm
talk about changing power, and there is a total filibuster. every day the leaders of the senate, mike mansfield, the democrat, and phil hart, the sponsor of this legislation, would meet and talk to the press. dirksen was a marvelous figure great rhetoric. mansfield was very tense. finally, after a couple weeks, the chief of staff of a midwestern democratic senator comes to see mansfield's top guy. couldn't we at least a couple days a week had to mansfield's office so we can say the
11:36pm
democrats are pushing this? he says, senator, this has been brought to me as a legitimate complaint. mike mansfield turns on his staff person and says, you understand, last year, 1964, the republican party lost its way on abraham lincoln's values of civil rights. they severed a terrible defeat. anything that helps the american people to see the republican party is returning to the values of abraham lincoln is good for the republican party and is good for the united states of america. i do not want the subject brought up again. that, to me, is leadership. that is noble. >> he used to have the record on "meet the press" for the most questions asked and answered.
11:37pm
how do you describe somebody in today's world that could say yes, no -- how about will not say? >> he just did -- he would not take briefings from the cia because he thought they were just trying to get you to not talk about subjects. he was a formidable credit and adversary of lyndon johnson and jack kennedy on vietnam. >> tip o'neill -- massachusetts, boston college, irish catholic, all of that -- what brought you to admire him? >> he had -- he was a stranger to self-importance.
11:38pm
that was important to me. not forgetting where you came from, and he was a stranger to self-importance. ira member -- i remember -- the funniest thing that happened, he said, i am sitting up there, my secretary comes in and said, mr. speaker, anderson is on the phone. i said, i will be honest with you -- he is a fellow from the old neighborhood and things have not worked out every well for him. so why take the call. how are you? he says, i am in a bar in somerville. i am with a couple of guys, and they do not believe i know you. they said, eddie, great old pal would you just tell these guys?
11:39pm
so he puts them on the phone -- eddie is a great pal of mine. this is tip o'neill at, and so forth. he says, eddie, is there anything else i can do? he says, we are just proud of you. we see you on c-span. i have to tell you, you look like wc fields up there. [laughter] to tell a story about that -- like that about himself. he gave the benefit of the doubt to the people who did not have high-powered representation here in washington, who did not have chauffeur-driven cars, who did not have staff carrying their briefcases for him. it was just something -- he knew who he was. >> who else? that is three? >> who else would i include? certainly i mention gerald ford.
11:40pm
bill proxmire was a remarkable man, a man who i've great admiration for. ed muskie -- the mayor of boston. udall was a gentle giant. >> who was he? >> a congressman from arizona who ran for president in 1976 and finished second to jimmy carter for the nomination. he -- the reason he did not win, i am convinced, he had a marvelous sense of humor, as did tip, which i guess is common. he was a gentle giant, with laughter in his soul and steel in his spine.
11:41pm
he took on leadership of his own party. he could never convince himself that the western world would collapse if he did not win. there has to be something of that in the successful presidential candidate. and he did not have it. he just said to wide of a perspective of who he was. but he was a marvelous, marvelous -- >> we watched him -- ira member -- i remember stories of people going out to visit him, including john mccain. did you ever visit him? >> i did. i will say this about john mccain -- his 2000 campaign, when he ran for president, is the most memorable campaign. of any that i ever covered or have been around -- we will never see it again. here he was, facing george w. bush, who had the republican
11:42pm
party backing him, all the money, and john mccain win out and held 114 town meetings. he stayed though it -- and stayed there into every question answered. you see the light bulb go on -- when will we get patient's bill of rights? he said, we will not get it as long as our party is owned by insurance companies and the democrats are owned by trial lawyers. it was refreshing candor. he was totally open to the press. there was a candor and an openness and a welcome this that nobody had seen before and no one has certainly seen since. >> you saw mo udall -- ira member him being tremendously funny -- i remember him being tremendously funny. how long was he in that hospital for?
11:43pm
he was not able to talk, was he? >> no. mccain used to read to him. it was a terrible, terrible death, from a long illness. debilitating. it was so sad. he had that viewpoint, that marvelous wit. he seemed aware. >> you work for him. >> i worked for him when he ran for president in 19's 76 -- 1976. i was managing -- i stayed out of that campaign because my wife was taking the bar exam that year. after being married long enough, she realized. >> where did you meet her? >> in washington. my roommate was dating her roommate.
11:44pm
that was when men had male roommates and women had women roommates. >> i remember john sears being your roommate? he was not your roommate? >> john is younger than i am. >> who was he? >> john sears -- i was once writing a piece -- if i had one call to make in a political campaign, i would call john sears. my editor said no. i said, if i had two calls to make, i would make one to john sears, because you want people to think they would be the other call. john sears was a genius. he was 29 years old, and he and pat buchanan were the two people on the payroll working for richard nixon, who was coming back from having lost in a 1962 kennedy, having lost pat brown
11:45pm
in california. his comeback campaign was basically 66-68. they did very well -- it was a good republican year. nixon had been the one guy who had been out there for all of them. sears and buchanan -- john went into the white house, the white house counsel. mitchell and somebody else -- they did not like him, he was too friendly to the press. so he got bounced out of the white house. his comeback was ronald reagan he was the ronald reagan architect in 1976. >> what is he doing today? >> john is in miami. he is basically retired. he is now 70. he still has his hand in his practice. he has had a very successful law practice. >> at the top of my list, one of the clips i have of you, going
11:46pm
back to 1992. you're at the national press club saying some strong things. >> what happens to the republicans was that they reinforced that perception and that prejudice against the republicans as the party of the wealthy by nominating george bush. in spite of the country and western music and all the trappings we have heard, this is a guy who will have a dash of coffee and his biggest social -- event is the house chablis. -- offense was ordering the house chablis. that works pretty well in good times. it kills you in bad times. it absolutely kills you. >> did they pay you as speaker? >> no. i would do anything for the notre dame club. this is -- they are blue and gold. having been vanquished by them so many times. the two parties, the perception
11:47pm
of the democrats is they are downscale, not well educated, so the democrats love to nominate people with ivy league pedigree is to speak in complete paragraphs. stevenson, kennedy, roosevelt, even bill clinton, barack obama. the republicans are seen as the party of the landed gentry and the well off, and like to nominate candidates from humble origins, whether it is richard nixon, ronald reagan, certainly herbert hoover, dwight eisenhower, jerry ford, and that is why george h w bush, another man who i like and admire enormously at the personal level an incredibly thoughtful man -- he reinforced the perception of
11:48pm
the republicans as the party of the landed gentry. it became a problem in 1992. >> which campaign did you dislike the most? >> the 2012 campaign was a pretty bad campaign. >> because? >> i do not think either barack obama or mitt romney really likes politics that much. you have to have people who like politics. >> how can you not like politics and run for president? >> you will have to ask them or their doctors. i do not think either one of them get much joy out of it. >> do you still get joy out of it? >> i do. not as much. there was a time when you would stay up late at night and -- everybody would have a funny story -- i think there is less of that now, and last letting down of hair. there is a lot more control in the campaigns.
11:49pm
a lot less accessibility. >> i remember, 40 years ago journalists like you would know these folks, having drinks with them and all that. >> i do not know if it is true for everybody, but it certainly is true -- in obama's case, he came here and was elected in 2004. landed, and immediately, dick durbin, who was his colleague, said this is your chance to run. sort of selfless for a senior colleague to say, this is your chance to run. do a considerable degree, he was exploring from that point forward. there is not that -- a perfect example, a great political reporter who made a point of getting to know these guys in the off-season.
11:50pm
it is a great way of knowing people when they are not running. >> in your lifetime, 17 years with capital gang, cnn, 17 years. >> robert novak, migrate colleague and wonderful friend, it was his idea, the show. he was unhappy -- he as the executive producer made two mistakes. one, as far as capital gang was concerned, he agreed to go to one hour. cnn had this very popular show at 7:00 on saturday night -- a great half-hour show. he had a brilliant idea -- bring on a newsmaker, accused of being too cozy or whatever, but bring
11:51pm
on a senator, a governor, a cabinet member, and make them part of the discussion. you would say, what do you think of this? be on a first name basis. you really get a sense of these people. some could take it, others would not. they were used to being deferred to. but it was not a one-hour show. when you do a one-hour show you have to go to hamburger helper and expand out -- let's do a longer piece. it was a high energy show for half an hour. cnn was going through all kinds of changes, too. they have nothing to compare with c-span and you, but -- >> we are 50 minutes in and have not gotten to hamburger helper left, but i do want to take advantage of the seven minutes left -- do you also think gigot and shields, brooks and shields which one to do like the best?
11:52pm
>> that is a good question. everyone. david was six years, from 1987 until 1993. then he left, of course. sort of tarnished his republican credentials by going to work for bill clinton. >> you hear republicans say that is the kind of republican you have on pbs. >> you cannot say that about paul gigot, the editorial page of "the wall street journal." paul did it from 1993 until 2001. the only reason he left was that he left for new york to run the page. he got the promotion.
11:53pm
>> which one of those three did you like the best? >> since then i have been doing it with david brooks -- all three of them have been terrific. i have been very orchard. >> what is the difference in those three conservatives or three whatever they are? >> what is the difference? i do not know. i did it with david brooks longer. coming up on 12 years. to watch david grow from this young firebrand to the walt whitman of his generation -- that has been a fun thing. >> so the greatest journalist in your lifetime -- or that you have ever read or known besides yourself? >> mary mcgrory, the way she wrote, the fact that mary mcgrory was a columnist for "the washington post" -- before that,
11:54pm
"the washington star.? a couple things -- she went to the events. she did not just to the thumbsucking, i had lunch with the secretary of state and here is what he said. she continued to do that. ask about being subjective -- she only is 85% of the time. she said, i hated the vietnam war and the way we treat kids -- and she did. she is somebody who lived it and devoted her effort and energy and recruited her friends. she did not recruit them -- she absolutely demanded and commanded that we work and help out at the orphanage, which was her passion. >> here you are on "inside washington." >> all he needs is a name change. i have a suggestion -- jed ocho-
11:55pm
cinco. that way he covers hispanics. >> the other thing he needs is a speech coach. he gave one of the dullest speeches at the republican convention. mr. chris christie, i am the last person in the world to tell him he should join a gym, but watching him get out of the suv was like watching be russians get out of afghanistan. [laughter] >> you got him on that one. they liked it. >> they did. national politician in the country -- chris christie. >> why? >> he is uncontrived in public. he is distinctive at a time when the brand of politicians is in the cellar. he is the only national figure
11:56pm
that has positive ratings from both republicans and democrats. >> would be country go for another bush? >> jeb bush is so different that the question is, will the republicans understand? jeb bush understands that in 2040 texas will be 20% anglo. george w. bush carried new jersey, carried illinois, carried ohio, carried michigan, carried california. those states are no longer -- he carried maine and vermont. those states are not even competitive for republicans now. if your publican party is ever going to be competitive again, it has got to understand that what jeb bush has been telling them, especially reaching out to hispanics, the fastest-growing constituency in the country,
11:57pm
nativism or whatever you want to call it that has dominated republican petitions, which came back and bit mitt romney. mitch romney ran against rick perry and newt gingrich. the right side of immigration -- accusing rick perry of being soft because texas passed the dream act which for republicans are voting against, and newt gingrich said a family that had been part of the community for 25 years and at church and participating and paying taxes should not be summarily dismissed. jeb bush -- he had better get a speech coach. go back and look at his speeches on c-span -- it put you to sleep. >> when was -- last question -- when was mark shields the happiest in politics? >> i spent the time, in
11:58pm
retrospect, working for jack gilligan in ohio, managing his campaign, when the mayor of boston was reelected, robert kennedy -- the robert kennedy thing, in retrospect, when you are doing what you enjoy doing, what you like doing, what you do well, and you think you are going to make a difference that will benefit the country and especially orphans and people who do not know your name and never will -- that is about as good as it gets. >> mark shields, columnist, television commentator, thank you very much for your time. >> thank you. >> for dvd copies of this
11:59pm
program, call 1-877-662-7726. for free transcripts or to give us your comments, visit us at q- and-a.org. programs are also available as c-span podcasts. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]>> next, british prime minister david cameron taking questions from members of the house of commons. after that, a discussion about the situation in northern mali. then a look at foreign-policy challenges facing the obama administration. >> on ne